When the leaked draft of the Supreme Court’s impending decision on Roe v. Wade came out last week, one of my first thoughts was: I’ve got to get to the clinic. Since early last fall, I’ve volunteered as an escort at my local abortion clinic in North Carolina, helping patients and their companions make it through the front doors without getting stopped and harassed by the anti-abortion protesters that congregate daily outside.
It’s never been the easiest work; despite our best efforts, the “antis,” as we call them, will do anything to get patients to change their minds. They shout hateful words in their faces and even stop cars before they make it into the driveway. But I suspected that the Roe v. Wade draft decision would add terrifying fuel to the protesters’ fires, inspiring them to increase their numbers, double down on their intimidation and become generally more brazen in their tactics.
On Tuesday, May 3 — the morning after the Supreme Court leak — the escorts on duty told our group chat that in addition to there being many more protesters present than normal (several dozen versus six or seven), one “anti” broke North Carolina law to trespass onto clinic property — twice. The trespasser’s apparent goal was to speak to patients already safely inside. (She apparently insisted that she only wanted to give them treats and gift cards. Unlikely.) Police were called, and the woman was given a citation; but it marked an ominous start to the week ahead.
Thursday and Friday (the clinic isn’t open on Wednesdays) also saw larger numbers of protesters than usual, including a distressing amount of young children accompanying their parents and echoing their often factually incorrect and hateful speech. In addition to the routine condemnations that we escorts are “supporters of murder” and “participants in Black genocide”